March is National Nutrition Month and the theme this year is “Fuel for the Future“. This means eat in a way that considers your lifelong health and well-being, and eat in a way that honors the earth.
Of course, we also realize there’s MUCH more to health and saving the earth than changing up your eating patterns. To protect our planet and your health and well-being, changes need to be made across the world with regards to laws and policies that mitigate climate change and eliminate health inequities.
Fueling our future in the long run means advocating for sustainable practices and supporting programs that address important health issues like poverty and lifelong access to healthcare.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in making a few tweaks to your own thoughts, habits and patterns surrounding food, consider these 3 tips to fuel for the future.
Tip #1: Eat more plants
Good news – you don’t have to become vegan or even vegetarian to eat more plants. This is just a matter of adding a new fruit or vegetable to your meals and snacks. It doesn’t have to be a complicated meal, it can be as simple as adding a side salad to dinner, or adding an apple to your bag of chips.
Of course there are a bunch of health benefits to eating more fruits and vegetables. Plus, having fewer animal products in your meals actually leaves less of a carbon footprint and requires less water to produce, keeping the environment in mind.
Tip #2: Find ways to actually enjoy what you eat.
When thinking about your future, consider your lifelong relationship with food. Cultivate a positive relationship with food by ditching the little food rules you might have for yourself.
Diet culture tells us to “eat this” and “not that”. When we label food as “good” or “bad”, we just get stuck in food prison – a guilt-shame cycle of doom. Try to quiet that inner critic and enjoy all foods. There’s a place for nourishment and pleasure at the table.
Enjoy what you eat by sharing cooking responsibilities and meals with your friends. Reframe your negative thoughts about food to thoughts of gratitude.
Even when you aren’t with friends there are many ways to enjoy the food. One way is by trying something new. Having something new opens up all your senses as you carefully consume the food. You might even find your new favorite meal this way.
Savor your food, appreciate every aspect of it from the appearance to the taste and texture. Being able to find ways to enjoy your food is really important in the long run as it helps to build this positive relationship with food.
Tip #3: Find ways to enjoy the process of making food.
If you dread cooking, then find ways to make it fun. Again, eating is a lifelong necessity, so you might as well make the most of it. When you are cooking, put on some music, sing along or even dance to it.
Have friends over to cook with you and make it a bonding experience. Try incorporating meals from different cultures. Cooking doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience, it can be an experience that you actually look forward to.
Fueling for the future isn’t just about eating certain foods that involve different nutrients and vitamins. It is also about enjoying what you eat and the process along the way. Finding what you enjoy eating can be hard, but building that relationship with food is important as it will keep you well nourished in the future.